A press release was sent out today by Hampshire County County announcing a reprieve for Andover town centre businesses by way of a ‘trial licence scheme’ for Andover’s A-Boards, meaning that retailers can pay for a licence to have their A-Board out on the street.
The decision on the go ahead is not being brought to Hampshire County Council’s cabinet meeting until tomorrow and so its future is not yet a certainty, however, Test Valley Borough Council has this afternoon released a statement with more detailed information in it regarding the turnaround.
The pilot will be run within Andover Town Centre for 12 months, and will be reviewed after the first four months. Businesses will be required to apply for a licence which includes a £50 fee to cover the costs of Hampshire County Council operating the scheme. The licence terms will cover issues such as sizes, dimensions and suitability of locations of A-boards.
The way forward follows a meeting last week between Borough Council Leader, Councillor Ian Carr, and the Leader of HCC, Councillor Roy Perry, which marked the culmination of weeks of discussions between officers and Leaders of the two councils over the issue.
In the statement released by Test Valley Borough Council, Leader of Hampshire County Council, Cllr Roy Perry confirmed that Cllr Ian Carr was the one to find the reprieve for Andover’s A-Boards by saying, “Councillor Carr made a compelling case for a compromise solution to solve Andover’s A-board issues. We agreed to trial a pilot scheme whereby businesses can apply to license an A-board for a modest fee. We all want businesses to prosper just as we all want pedestrians especially those with mobility and sight issues to be able to walk about easily.”
Cllr Ian Carr said,“I have made it clear since day one of this problem that my overriding aim has been to find a solution which will work for the businesses of Andover. As a former retailer myself, I can appreciate the value of A-boards to businesses who have to maximise their marketing opportunities in order to remain successful. I hope that Andover will now lead the way in developing a scheme which can be rolled out across the county”.
Nigel Terry, owner of Mail Boxes Etc in George Yard said to Andover & Villages, “I think this is a fair compromise under the circumstances, I am happy with the trial but would want to see it rolled across other Hampshire towns, or it would feel like being charged to live and run a business in Andover, which just isn’t fair and would be victimisation.”
Speaking to Andover & Villages, Cllr Iris Andersen, the councillor for the town centre said, “This is brilliant news for the town centre retailers who have been hit hard by the removal of the A-boards. The businesses that trade in Andover town Centre support the town and I am relieved it has come to a positive conclusion.”
*Pictured Cllr Ian Carr and Cllr Roy perry after their agreeable meeting last week